First of all, congratulations! You’re engaged to be married and you’ve chosen the U.S. as the home base for your wedding and married life. But, how do you get a visa to do the wedding in the U.S.? And what visa will allow you to stay with your partner in the U.S. after you get married?
Have you heard of a K1 visa? It is probably the best option you have. Below you can find more information on how to apply for and use this visa to plan and execute the wedding of your dreams in the U.S.!
What is a K1 Visa?
A K1 visa is sometimes also referred to as a fiancé(e) visa. This visa specifically grants a fiancé(e) of a U.S. citizen the privilege of living in the U.S. for 90 days after their entry through a U.S. border crossing. If you enter the U.S. on this visa, you and your future spouse are required to get married within the 90-day validity period of the visa. If the marriage does not take place within the 90-day validity period, the foreign fiancé will need to leave the U.S. The visa will also lose its validity if the engagement is broken before the marriage.
There are some basic eligibility requirements which the visa beneficiary must fulfill before the visa is granted, however.
Who is Eligible for a K1 Visa?
Most immigration processes with visas have strict eligibility requirements. The U.S. government determines these regulations and the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) ensures it is enforced. A K1 visa is no different and it also only allows a specific group of people entry into the U.S.
Here are the basic eligibility requirements for a K1 visa:
* The sponsoring partner must be a U.S. citizen. Green Card holders can not be a sponsor for a K1 visa.
* Both partners are legally able to marry. Divorce papers, death certificates, and other supporting documents claiming the termination of previous marriages needs to be present.
* K1 visas are available to same-sex partners even if the foreign fiancé’s country of birth does not acknowledge same-sex marriages.
* You will need to prove the legitimacy of the relationship with emails, itineraries, photos, and written testimonials from friends and family. Include traveling arrangements and tickets that prove combined trips.
* The couple must prove at least one personal meeting in the two years leading up to the visa application. This requirement may be waived if the foreign spouse could not do so due to extreme hardship as a result of religious, cultural, or social norms.
* Both partners need to prove intent to marry within 90 days of entry by supplying written confirmation. Wedding plans, invites, supplier deposits, and other types of travel arrangements for the wedding itself will help support this.
* The foreign spouse must prove financial means of at least equal to 100% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If this is not possible, someone in the U.S. (usually the partner) needs to sign an affidavit of support claiming to be a financial sponsor of the foreign spouse.
The above points are the basic requirements set out by the USCIS. Each situation is unique, however. You may need to contact an immigration attorney to help you with your immigration process. It is also important to remember that the U.S. citizen partner (the petitioner) files the K1 visa application on behalf of the foreign fiancé (the visa beneficiary).
Documents Required for a K1 Visa
So, what documents do you need to file a petition to apply for the K1 visa process? As mentioned previously, your situation is unique and may require additional documents. But for now, here are the basic documents required in every K1 visa application:
*Form DS-160 – You and all of your minor dependents need to complete an Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS-160). Print the confirmation page and keep it for proof at your visa interview. Each person needs an individual DS-160.
* Form I-129F – The actual petition for an Alien Fiancé.
* A valid passport – From your country of residence.
* Divorce or death certificates – To prove the annulment of previous marriages.
* Police clearances – One from every country where you have lived for more than 6 months from the age of 16.
* Medical examination – From a registered physician.
* Evidence of financial support – Form I-134 which is an affidavit of support (if necessary).
* Two photographs – Two passport-style photographs of the beneficiary.
* Evidence of the relationship – Physical proof of the relationship as mentioned before.
* Payment receipts – Proof that the processing fees have been settled.
These are the required documents in the average case. Ask for professional help from an immigration attorney if you are unsure about what to submit for your specific application.